John Murrell stood at a table late Wednesday afternoon inside Manatee Technical College’s main campus in Bradenton with pamphlets and paraphernalia before him. The retired lieutenant was there to recruit for the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office.
“When you get in law enforcement, there’s a whole bunch of things that you can taper off of that,” Murrell said to Marie Francois, who stopped by his table. “People that like driving boats go into the Marine Unit. People that like dogs, they go to K-9… it all depends on your desire, what you’re thinking about.”
Francois, 43, of Bradenton, looked down at a sheriff’s office pamphlet with curiosity. She and hundreds of others were in search of an opportunity at the third annual Career and Hiring Fest, held by MTC in partnership with CareerSource Suncoast, a private, nonprofit corporation with a mission to recruit, train and retain talent for employers on the Suncoast. Chatter permeated the air as people spoke with recruiters about job openings or opportunities at MTC. The event featured more than 40 companies and showcased over 20 programs at the college, according to a news release. Waffle House, Bealls and Brookdale Senior Living Solutions were just a few of the companies that were represented.
According to MTC Executive Director Doug Wagner, the event will have had close to 1,000 visitors by the end of the event at 6 p.m.
Francois, who has been living in the United States for a year now since arriving from Haiti, said she learned about the Career and Hiring Fest from her MTC counselor.
“I have more than 10 years experience in human resources and administration,” she said. “I like to help employees and their wellness in the working environment.”
Murrell said that people both young and old had stopped by his recruiting table.
“A lot of interest in law enforcement, I have to say and questions, which I like,” he said. “People who really see law enforcement just as a patrol car and a deputy in a green car, now they find out behind the scenes there’s other people that we need like in the booking sections and we need clerks … even IT (information technology). There’s different areas that they really didn’t know until you expose them to it.”
In another aisle stood Keshia Chambers, a human resource specialist for Waffle House.
“We’re actually looking for some servers and management people to join our team,” the 29-year-old said, adding that the company is hiring in Manatee, Hillsborough and Polk counties. “There’s been a lot of great candidates that came to the table that I can see potential as servers or grill operators and even some management potential here. We’re looking for someone with a great personality that has a welcoming face and presence about them, someone who’s eager to work, wanting to work and wants to grow within a company.”
Lindsay Degg, 32, of Sarasota, said she decided to attend the event to search for a better employement opportunity.
“A place to kind of grow with and retire with,” she said. “I’m at that point in my life where I’m ready to find a place that I’m comfortable with and has a good work and family balance. In life, we trade our time for money … and I just want it to be worth it.”